Chichén Viejo – Yucatan – Mexico

Chichén Viejo

Chichén Viejo

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Chichén Viejo – Yucatan

Located more than a kilometre from the main structures of Chichén Itzá, Chichén Viejo (Old Chichén) includes Mayan structures known as the Initial Series Group. Chichén Viejo is thought to be a compound once home to Mayan elites. Archaeologists have dated a stone lintel at the site back to 619 A.D; the oldest hieroglyphics discovered at Chichén Itzá.

Temple of the Initial Series

The Temple of the Initial Series is the most important structure in the Initial Series Group, this two-chamber temple is set upon a platform base with a staircase on the west side of the structure. The temple contains a Chac Mool sculpture and a lintel with the only long-count date found at Chichén Itzá (July 30, 878 A.D.). The temple has motifs of serpents, double Chaac masks and Venus emblems. Archaeologists have identified an earlier structure beneath the temple, which dates to approximately 650 A.D. called the Temple of Stuccos.

Casa del Yugo

A structure located on the north side of the compound, Casa del Yugo measures 22 x 9 meters and contains columns that once supported a flat roof. The structure is believed to be civic in nature.

Case del Tambor

A multi-chambered building with a west-facing stairway located on the North side of the complex.

Initial Series Group Arch

An entry arch connected to the rest of the Chichén Itzá complex by a sacbe (white road).

Platform of the Turtle

Located in the centre of the northern plaza, this platform is thought to have been used for dancing or other rituals. Burials and offerings of flint knives have been located in the sub-structure.

Casa Chac Mool

This structure is so-named because of the Chac Mool monument that was located in front of it. It is a small platform with a single chamber. A high-ranking individual was buried here.

Temple of Owls

A temple with a façade depicting owls interspersed with human figures. The Temple of Owls has been dated to c. 870 A.D. It is a 4.2 meter structure on a platform. The collapsed building was reconstructed between 1999-2002. Inside were painted panels and Chaac masks, as well as a large owl figure that has been restored.

Temple of Columns/Gallery of the Moon

A 32 sq. meter platform with multiple chambers and columns that once supported a flat roof. The capstones of the columns are intricately carved.

Casa de las Cabacitas

A small structure located on the south side of the North Plaza.

The Gallery of the Monkeys

A long colonnaded gallery extending from a main multi-chambered structure. The structure is named for the depictions of monkeys it contains.

Casa Caracol

Located across the plaza from the Gallery of Monkeys, this structure is a two-story building with corbeled arched roofs, Atlantean columns and an interior courtyard. It also contains a stairway leading to the Temple of Dancing Jaguars.

Temple of the Dancing Jaguars

A temple containing multiple chambers and a twin set of columns.

House of Phallus

Named for the numerous phallic decorations this multi-chambered structure also contains depictions of self-sacrifice. The complex also contains the House of Atlantean Columns.


The entrance to Chichén Viejo is from a makeshift (at the moment) entrance close to the top of the part of the parking lot where the big coaches are located at Chichén Itzá. From the entrance it’s a walk, there and back, of about 1.5 kilometres to the actual site.

How to get there;

Chichén Viejo is part of the Chichén Itzá site but is being treated as a separate location. This situation is very fluid at the moment as the INAH work out how they are going to manage this newly opened location. It is still a working site, with a lot of archaeologists and workers on site so this might determine how things develop. Entrance to Chichén Viejo is with the same ticket as it is to enter the main site – although I don’t know if you could use the same ticket to enter both locations. At the moment it is only possible to enter the site with a registered guide and the numbers are strictly limited. Groups are also ‘policed’ by a security guard to make sure you don’t do anything you shouldn’t. Go to the official INAH website for the most up to date information, putting Chichén Viejo in the search box.


88d 34′ 01″ N

20d 41′ 05″ W



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